Faithlife Sermons

When Evil Persists

Toby DeHay
Nehemiah  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Nehemiah 6:1–14 NIV84
1 When word came to Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and not a gap was left in it—though up to that time I had not set the doors in the gates— 2 Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: “Come, let us meet together in one of the villages on the plain of Ono.” But they were scheming to harm me; 3 so I sent messengers to them with this reply: “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” 4 Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer. 5 Then, the fifth time, Sanballat sent his aide to me with the same message, and in his hand was an unsealed letter 6 in which was written: “It is reported among the nations—and Geshem says it is true—that you and the Jews are plotting to revolt, and therefore you are building the wall. Moreover, according to these reports you are about to become their king 7 and have even appointed prophets to make this proclamation about you in Jerusalem: ‘There is a king in Judah!’ Now this report will get back to the king; so come, let us confer together.” 8 I sent him this reply: “Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head.” 9 They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.” But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.” 10 One day I went to the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was shut in at his home. He said, “Let us meet in the house of God, inside the temple, and let us close the temple doors, because men are coming to kill you—by night they are coming to kill you.” 11 But I said, “Should a man like me run away? Or should one like me go into the temple to save his life? I will not go!” 12 I realized that God had not sent him, but that he had prophesied against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. 13 He had been hired to intimidate me so that I would commit a sin by doing this, and then they would give me a bad name to discredit me. 14 Remember Tobiah and Sanballat, O my God, because of what they have done; remember also the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who have been trying to intimidate me.

The Evil-Doer Uses Entrapment (1-4)

Generally, entrapment is, when someone like a law enforcement officer, will try to get another person to try to commit a crime.
Entrapment can also be defined as using nefarious means to get someone in trouble.
Check out the discourse here:

Nehemiah’s enemies recognize the complete wall

This is a normal step when someone does not like what you are doing and desire to stop it. They aren’t dumb. They know what you are doing.
In this case, we see Nehemiah’s adversaries recognize the completion of the wall.
Take for example the ark that Answers in Genesis built a couple of years ago.
Their opponents tried stopping it through using public pressure, lawsuits, public demonstrations, and newspaper and Internet attacks.
After it was built, they didn’t stop!
They recognized they couldn’t keep people from coming, so they spread lies about the attendance, their tax status, and other things.
Christian, when we are standing strongly for the Gospel, the enemies of God will recognize it and use many different means to stop the Gospel message from coming forth.

Nehemiah’s enemies use a messenger

Using a messenger isn’t necessarily bad:
God used messengers in His prophets.
John the Baptist was a messenger of repentance.
Jesus brought a message of an offer of forgiveness from God.
Using a messenger is often a sign of power. The general doesn’t go to the colonel to summon him. He sends a lower level officer to tell him to come.
Sanballat and crew had power.
Using a messenger can also be a sign of intimidation.
“Look how I can use others to do my bidding.”
Christian, be careful of two things:
The one who sends you a negative message via another person.
That you aren’t sending messages to other people because you are the intimidator, or are trying to manipulate.
In the church there is a famous saying that is almost universal in every church, large or small.
“Pastor, deacon, Sunday School teacher, leader…people are saying.”
Nobody’s saying that. The person saying it is the one “saying.”

Nehemiah’s enemies desire to hurt him.

Entrapment is there to hurt, not help.
When was the last time you were caught in a speed trap, and the intent wasn’t to try to catch you speeding?
When was the last time you watched a crime show and saw the police use the low level criminal to bust the higher up ones?
Their desire was to hurt him and and Jews, not welcome them into the neighborhood.
Friends, those who are apart from Christ and are antagonistic toward those of the faith aren’t there to affirm you, but to hurt you and your Gospel witness.
Are you allowing the evil one to have a foot-hold in any area?
Be careful not to allow those who are apart from Christ to trap you and use your words or actions against the message of the Gospel.

The Evil-Doer Will Lie (5-11)

They lie through spreading rumors (5-7)

Does everyone know what an “open letter” is and what it’s intended to do?
An open letter is one that is written, like an opinion, or letter to the editor, to a specific person or entity with a specific agenda.
Most commonly today, they are done online and target a public figure with whom you’d never get a chance to speak.
The intent of an “open letter” is that the intended party will read the material through a means of public pressure or shaming and change their ways.
The good thing about “open letters” is that those who need to be called out and will not sit down to have a reasonable conversation can be publically rebuked.
The bad thing about “open letters” is almost everything else.
They are one sided.
They often contain lies.
They are mean-spirited.
They weren’t given after repeated attempts to dialogue personally.
They seek men’s applause rather than correction.
They are politically motivated, and often use a type of public bullying to achieve their goals.
This is what happened here.
Sanballat sent an open letter to Nehemiah.
In those days an unsealed letter means the same thing that an open letter on the Internet means: It is intended for anyone who wants to read it.
In fact, if you were a letter carrier you knew the rules. Sealed letters aren’t to read by anyone but the intended person.
On the other hand....

Address lies wth the truth (8)

Notice what Nehemiah does here.
He doesn’t go on the attack.
He isn’t focused on picking a fight.
He simply states the truth.
Nehemiah 6:8 NKJV
8 Then I sent to him, saying, “No such things as you say are being done, but you invent them in your own heart.”

They lie to spread fear (9)

Fear is a powerful motivator.
If I can make you afraid, you’ll want to quit.
If I can discourage you enough, you won’t want to put up with it and will move on.
Friends, those who are leaders need to know that this WILL come from those in opposition to change.
In fact, some of the seemingly sweetest people in our churches will use lies to spread fear in order to stop change.

They will try to trick you (10)

Notice the difference in NKJV and the other ones.
Nehemiah 6:10 NKJV
10 Afterward I came to the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was a secret informer; and he said, “Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you; indeed, at night they will come to kill you.”
Nehemiah 6:10 NIV84
10 One day I went to the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was shut in at his home. He said, “Let us meet in the house of God, inside the temple, and let us close the temple doors, because men are coming to kill you—by night they are coming to kill you.”
N
Those trying to trap you will use their words carefully. They’ve planned out their attack on you.
Their seeming advantage is that they know what they are going to say and have plotted what you’ll say in return. They are ready for you!
Brother and sister, your best defense is a godly life and daily walk.
Nehemiah 6:11 NKJV
11 And I said, “Should such a man as I flee? And who is there such as I who would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in!”
Friends, there is no need to flee when the truth is in us.
Proverbs 28:1 NKJV
1 The wicked flee when no one pursues, But the righteous are bold as a lion.

To Overcome; Listen to the Lord (12-14)

Listen to Him and His Word if someone tries to “prophecy” to you contrary to scripture. (12)
Listen to Him and His Word over the motivations that may be worldly. (13)
Allow the Lord to take retribution instead of doing so yourself. (14)
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